Mirror by Sylvia Plath

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful ‚
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

Summary

The poem Mirror written by Sylvia Plath is an example of personification. The mirror specifies that it reflects the image of the viewer without preconception and prejudices.

The mirror does not judge people. Unlike human beings, it does not give a biased view of the person whose image it reflects. Like God the mirror watches the viewer unbiased and fair. It meditates on the opposite wall, it has become an integral part of the heart of the mirror because it gazes constantly at it. The view flickers because of darkness and faces of the people who try to see their reflection in it.

The mirror compares itself to a ‘Lake’ because it too can reflect images. People view themselves in the mirror to appreciate themselves. They do not like to see signs of ageing. They do not want to see the stark reality, they don’t want to believe the truthful mirror hence they turn to dim light of the candles or the moon.

They prefer to live in illusions that they are still young. The viewer does not appreciate the unbiased view of the mirror and rewards it with tears and anger.

The mirror unmoved by the tearful and angry out burst continues to reflect the images faithfully. Though the woman is perturbed by her reflection, but she cannot do without the mirror. Each morning she comes to it religiously. In the mirror she can see her past, her lost childhood, her lost youth. Each day an older woman rises in the mirror, and the viewer cannot escape, she feels trapped in the mirror like a terrible fish in the lake of time.

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